The Object Lesson

Jordan Orlando, Author, Jordon Orlando, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-66978-2
A stunning look at a new generation of middle-class African Americans--and a hilarious tale of unrequited love--Ellis's follow-up to Platitudes chronicles a young man's obsessive search for sexual fulfillment. Austin McMillan, adopted son of a doctor and a college professor, hungers for the attention of the prettiest girls at his New England prep school, Ivy League university, Cape Cod summer retreats and New York City office. Austin's comical, poignant and erotic diary entries (dating from 1979 to 1988) report his misadventures as he tries to lose his virginity; in fresh, irreverent language, they express both a typical adolescent male's obsession with sex and, more specifically, Austin's fragile emotional state. Ellis may well drive readers nearly crazy with Austin's claustrophobic point of view and ravings about love. However, once the college grad becomes a minor television star on a fix-it cable show (hence the title), Austin learns some lessons as he slowly realizes that neither his fruitless behavior nor desire for ``white'' trophies of excellence will improve his sense of self. Ellis has taken an unusual route to make a critical point about affluent African Americans. His fine novel considers aspects of black life and attitudes rarely covered in fiction or the media. ( July )
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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